Hyperpop hypnosis in full swing for 100 gecs means their sophomore album, 10,000 gecs, has a similar momentum behind it to their debut from 2019. Considering the major waves of electronic structure 100 gecs keep at their core, it is a shame to predict 100,000 gecs is right around the corner. It is a matter of if, not when. Whether these are reptiles or a passion project of the General Electric Company, is of no interest to those listening to the high-pitched, higher-strung and bass-heavy EDM style which springs from nowhere. Engaging 100 gecs over the near half-hour as more than a collection of sound effect stocks from a pre-owned keyboard is not necessary. Somewhere within 10,000 gecs is why listeners return to them.
Certainly unique, but so was the campaign to make horrific war criminal and violent leader Joseph Kony famous. Ugly music for faux individuals. Even cutting through the most interesting hyperpop tensions of 10,000 gecs reveal relatively plain lyrics which follow usual structures, masquerading as individuals under the heavy blows of noise. Novelty records are never capable of striking the same chords with different effects twice. 100 gecs must have known when heading into 10,000 gecs. They achieve their vision. But defending an artist’s vision over the perception provided by the end of the run, the THX and then the sudden burst of guitar on opening track Dumbest Girl Alive seems to play up the expectation of random glitch pop radiance. It sounds far more controlled than their first, worst album. Except for I Got My Tooth Removed, part South Park reject material, part Reel Big Fish instrumental. Its shift into sentiment is a jagged and uneven one.
Even with this change in pace, to showcase their instrumental work more than their scope of mixing, 100 gecs stomp through with image first, music second. Clutching to ketamine weirdness as they jam out with empty lyrics and static shocks of occasionally numbing and sensitive proportions. Emo pop jangler 757 is useful for its instrumentals and deplorable for its irritation through vocal style. 100 gecs is not for everyone, but everyone must see the duo for their depiction-first, instrumentals later ambition. Laden with easter eggs, waiting for the pop culture sound effect to rock up, from Star Wars X-Wing fighter shots to the post-ironic Doritos & Fritos. Their best tracks from 10,000 gecs, namely Hollywood Baby and the brutally fun criticism at the heart, are so far removed from what they first set out to do. Much improved, but very different, streamlined even. Limp Bizkit call on Billy knows Jamie, the bell which tolls for thee and 100 gecs a chilling midpoint to mediocrity.
Their intense and perceived irony paired with their sampling style comes from a culture formed online. It skips over those who cannot perceive listening to sound effects, random integers or, at least, well-structured Yamaha SE Kit features produced and thrown together in random batches of glitch pop noise. Liking it is ironic, not liking it is a lack of understanding for the post-ironic era. 10,000 gecs has much to defend itself but little in the way of actively listenable material. Noise pop without the commitment, suffering and deflated continuation of 1000 gecs, which provided a constant, two-minute per track vaporwave destruction. Use it as the foundation, but do not build from there, break it down from the hyperpop seconds which spring through. Interesting on paper, but to listen to 10,000 gecs takes a real degree of disconnect from palatable sound. 1000 gecs had personality but no control, 10,000 gecs has control but no personality.